Every generation has its nickname. We have the baby boomers, generation X, and, of course, the millennials. As they begin to wield more and more buying power than ever before, companies are having to work out what they’re doing when it comes to marketing to millennials.

So, how do you do it? How do you market to a generation that is more connected than ever before, more distrustful of advertising, and more interested in new value-add propositions than your company has ever seen? Well, that’s the million – or perhaps, billion – dollar question, isn’t it?

Many of the smartest and most influenctial people in the industry have some very strong – and very different – opinions about marketing to millennials. We take a look at some of the most interesting reports from the front lines of millennial marketing.

Harvard Business Review“Market to Millennials by Getting Out of the Way” by Ron Faris

In one of the most respected business publications on the planet, Ron Faris argues that millenials are after something entirely new – namely, urgency and sociability – and the way to give that to them is to let them give it to themselves.

“…The brand should create experiences that allow fans to share or compete with each other, ideally on a mobile-first platform.”

Forbes“Why Marketing to Millennials and Other Generations Is Pointless” by Jessica Kriegel

Another of the foremost business journals on earth takes a crack at how to best make use of all that new data and consumer profile information that social media gives us. Is it even useful or accurate to think of a generation as one demographic? Jessica Kriegel doesn’t think so, and thinks there is a better methodology out there.

“…A generation—whether it be millennial or Gen Xer or baby boomer—is too broad of a category to be a truly effective marketing segment. Although some millennials are still in high school, others are divorced parents. While some millennials are waiters in the Midwest, others are CEOs in Silicon Valley.”

Adweek“Marketing to Millennials and the Necessity of Social Brand Advocacy” by Jeff Ernst

Jeff Ernst believes he has pinpointed the aspect of millennial marketing that makes the demographic unique – namely, their generational lack of trust, and how that affects their buying habits. Is showing that your company cares enough, or does it take something else?

“Only 3 percent of millennials look to traditional media – television, magazines, and newspapers…. What others are saying about your brand defines it and is 8 to 10 times more powerful than your ads or content.”

“…Even if you’ve got the best content, if they don’t trust your brand, they won’t bother looking at it. Studies show 43 percent place authenticity over content.”

Direct Marketing News“What Millennials Have in Store for Marketing” by Ginger Conlon

Ginger Conlon gets the pulse of the very-near future of marketing by asking students of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology what they think is on the horizon of marketing. Some of their answers will surprise you. Some of them will inspire you.

“Customers feel less tricked and annoyed reading sponsored content than straight advertisements—especially if that content is well-integrated into the [content around] it.”

Marketing Dive“Marketers Have to Change Tactics in Marketing to Millennials: Study” by David Kirkpatrick

It’s one thing to think millennials are changing marketing; it’s another to have hard proof. David Kirkpatrick looks at the fact that marketers are spending 500% more to reach millennials than all other demographics combined, and what that means for the future of marketing, big and small.

“…Authenticity was key to marketing to millennials and going beyond viewing the group as an age demographic might be one way to achieve that goal.”

A quote to finish, this time, from ourselves. Reevoo creative director Gustavo Machado had this to say in a blog about luxury brands using UGC:

…Six out of ten millennials rely upon user-generated content when making a buying decision, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group. That means that not only will millennials be your main customers in just ten years, but they’ll expect UGC when they are. Woe unto the luxury brand that thinks it doesn’t need it, and success unto those that do.

Whatever your industry, the future of your marketing looks pretty well determined. Be real, be honest, be authentic and be helpful.

Marketing to millennials